Singer Prince has launched a legal battle over the unauthorised use of his music on the YouTube website.

The singer launched the legal action in order to "reclaim his art on the Internet" and hopes to ban any unauthorised video clips taken of his performances.

Prince is believed to be the first major artist to do battle with YouTube.

A spokesperson for the singer said: "These are steps that the ever innovative Prince is taking to reclaim his art on the Internet."

"Prince believes strongly that as an artist the music rights must remain with the artist and thus copyrights should be protected across the board."

"Very few artists have ever taken this kind of action over their rights. Yet Prince has showed time and time again he is ready to challenge the system in new ways to put artists and music first."

According to reports, the singer has instructed Web Sheriff, a company which specialises in combating online piracy and copyright infringement, to act on his behalf.

John Giacobbi, managing director of Web Sheriff, said: "Some artists are very relaxed about the use of their image and music on the internet, some less so."

"Prince feels very strongly that people should remember his concerts as they were, not as some grainy mobile phone footage."

"Prince's actions are a brave and pioneering step to challenge the status quo and hand control over Internet rights back to the artists."

Web Sheriff has succeeded in taking more than 1,000 unauthorised Prince video clips off YouTube in the past few days.